20 February 2011

Goodna Flood Update: Drawing on experience: students share memories of Mother Nature's fury


SCARY NIGHT: Hermit Park pupils recall the wrath of Cyclone Yasi.

WHILE debris is being cleaned up from Cyclone Yasi and the floods, and as essential services are restored, the memories of those events still linger for the state's smallest residents.

Helicopters and bent palm trees are the main motif.

Year 2 students in north Queensland drew fallen trees, lightning, heavy rain and flying debris while recalling the howling winds that kept many awake during the night of terror. Nina, 7, said she had to evacuate her home and stayed with a family friend whose house had window shutters.

"A tree hit the window and power lines fell ... I could not sleep because there was a lot of thunder," she said.

More than 50 families and three teachers from Goodna State School, west of Brisbane, were flood-affected. Some families were so badly affected their children have been unable to return to school.

In their pictures, many children drew the helicopters which flew overhead on their way to Grantham, and sharks. A bull shark was sighted during the flood and it has become something of an urban legend.

Camilla Packer, 10, said friends and neighbours came to help when the flood waters took over her home.

"Some workers came over and asked if we needed help," she said.

Jessie Nowlan-Cover has moved back into her house, after her mum got active with the scrubbing brush.

"But we lost a lot of things," she said.

The school thanked all those who donated book packs and other essentials.

Deputy principal Darren Marsh said there was plenty of counselling available and the children had been responding well to getting into the normal routine of school life.

Child psychologist Dr Bob Montgomery said children were more fragile than many adults realised because they could not articulate their fears as clearly as an adult.

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